Honour for social business pioneer

Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus will launch an innovative centre at La Trobe University designed to strengthen links between business and the community.

The Yunus Social Business Centre (YSBC), based in the La Trobe Business School, links academics and students with the wider community, and offers training, education, mentoring and support for social business.

Professor Yunus is a significant champion of social business, which focuses on achieving social objectives, such as healthcare and housing for the disadvantaged, as opposed to profit.

Known as the ‘banker to the poor’, Professor Yunus was awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. He pioneered the microcredit concept that uses small loans to help those too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.

YSBC Director Professor Gillian Sullivan Mort said La Trobe was thrilled to welcome Professor Yunus to its Bundoora campus on April 7 to officially open the centre at the Business School’s new state of the art facility.

“Professor Yunus is the inspiration behind our centre. His work has recast business beyond the sole focus of profit. Instead, social business empowers wider community benefit,” Professor Sullivan Mort said.

During his visit to La Trobe, Professor Yunus will be presented with an Honorary Doctorate by Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar.

“This honorary degree is a fitting tribute to a man who has made an extraordinary contribution to global development, poverty alleviation, community leadership and the economic rights of women,” Professor Dewar said.

“Professor Yunus has shown himself to be an inspirational leader, who has managed to translate his visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people. We are proud to be aligned with someone who reflects La Trobe’s commitment to responsible management and social engagement.”

The Yunus Social Business Centre is particularly interested in helping women social business entrepreneurs, social enterprises going to scale and in helping measure social impact.

The centre’s current initiatives and projects include:

  • A world-first study, in collaboration with Bundoora Primary School, to understand how primary school aged students incubate their ideas to help others
  • Marketing research to investigate ways to improve the business of the social enterprise Seven Women, which empowers marginalised Nepalese women through education and skills training

For more information visit www.latrobe.edu.au/business/about/yunus-social-business-centre.

Media contact Briena Barrett: 0432 566 014

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